digital audio tape [DAT]


(pronounced “DAHT”) (n.) Developed through a collaboration between Sony and Philips in the mid-1980s, a format for storing digital audio files on magnetic tape. The complete name is R-DAT, where R stands for rotary heads in the recorder or player. In addition to storing music, the DAT format records subcode information, such as the track number and absolute time calculated from the beginning of the tape. Up to 120 minutes of signal may be recorded on a single tape. Recording studios use DAT tapes for masters because the signal-to-noise ratio is so high and because duplicates can be made with no degradation. The DAT specification defines the following modes and characteristics: